Book Review -High-Yield Vegetable Gardening: Grow More of What You Want in the Space You Have by Colin McCrate, Brad Halm.

4 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Storey Publishing for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

What a comprehensive guide to growing vegetables in your own yard! Although the amount of detail given in this book may make some feel it’s better suited for your beginner home grown veggie gardener, I feel home growers of all levels would get something out of this book. I, personally, loved how it not only provided charts and tables within the book to help you keep records on planting, seeds and other important schedules – it also gave advice on how to use applications on your computer to keep a record. So those more technologically minded (like me) are still encouraged to get out in the garden and get our hands dirty… but we can still find a use for our love of tinkering on a spreadsheet.

I will admit now I am really a novice to possibly advanced novice when it comes to gardening. I know the basics, try and grow at least one crop of something each year and have kept all my fruit trees alive and laden with fruits for the decade I’ve owned my current home. And yet I still gained a lot of helpful and extremely useful information from ‘High-Yield Vegetable Gardening’. Yes I knew a lot of the basics given, but there is such an amazing amount of detail given with them that I still gained pointers and inspiration to get out there and get more from my garden. And this book covered pretty much everything!

Oh, I also loved how it had more of an organic/ natural remedy lean to it too. From your heirloom and organic seeds, to better soil – via organic treatments – through to pest control and home remedies. LOVED IT! So many modern gardening books go for the fast and furious measures of instant results with the least amount of work by taking the GM seeds, putting them in the chemically fertilised soil and so on. This is a true gardener’s book and helps to teach gardening the way my grandparents and parents taught me. Keep it true, keep it real and keep it as healthy and chemical free as possible.

The only two extremely minor niggles I have about this book is firstly that it isn’t orientated to my location. As in, Storey Publishing is a publishing house in the United States, so this book is based on gardening there. I would have loved if it was set up for the Australian climate and planting season. But I knew this was going to be the case before I asked to read it so the fault is all mine and nothing to do with the book! Yes I still gained a lot of good advice and tips that can be used globally… but there are large parts of the book I would need to adjust to suit my wheel of the year, rather than the one followed in the northern hemisphere.

The other, very minor, problem I had is there was nothing there for your city apartment gardener. I know it can be hard to fit more than a few scenarios into a book, but there are patio and verandah vegetable gardeners out there and it would have been good if there had been some tips and tricks for them too. However, I can see why there isn’t, as this book really is set for your urban to suit your semi-rural garden and, to be honest, patio and verandah gardening can be so different in comparison that getting their own book may be of more use. So, yes, very minor flaw and probably just with me the reader!

Would I recommend this book to others? Yes I would. As I’ve said, this is a very comprehensive and well written ‘how to’ guide to vegetable gardening suited for all skill levels. Yes it covers everything from the basics through and so some of your more experienced gardeners may not want to read it… but I’m sure there are some pretty good tips in there for those gardeners too. I would, however, mention the locality issues I had as some newbie vegetable gardeners here in Australia may get more from a locally based book.

Would I buy this book for myself? I might. As I said, I loved the details and the amount of things covered and I really did gain a lot and could see myself referring to this book for hints, tips and inspiration in the future… but not being set out for the Australia climate does put me off a bit. I am so very tempted… but am sure there are more locally based books I could gain good help from too. If this book is ever revamped to suit the Australian climate, then yes. I would have it in my hot little hands before they finished unpacking them to put up on the book store’s shelves!

In summary – I know I’ve said it before, but I will say it again – a very comprehensive and well written guide to vegetable gardening in your own yard… as long you HAVE a yard. A great reference guide for pretty much all aspects of food gardening and one I feel would be of help to all skill levels.

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO



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